Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Kindness of Friends and Strangers

By Lorna Barrett (Also known as Lorraine Bartlett)

So, there we were Wednesday evening, reading the morning paper (yes, you read that right.  We read USA Today in the morning and save the local rag for the evening) when our cat Chester jumped up to sit on Mr. L's lap.

And missed.

Missed three times.

Later that evening, Chester started to stumble around and we knew something was terribly wrong.

According to an article in USA Today earlier this week, we're like millions of other fools who let our cats (and dogs) sleep with us.  Well, Chester sleeps right between Mr. L and me.  He got up to turn around and fell over.

We got up around five that morning and had a long three hours wait until the vet took calls at eight.  And then, it was difficult to get through because every other cat owner with a sick kitty was trying to call at the same time.  But by 8:14 I had a 10 am appointment.  They said they were squeezing us in.  We virtually never wait at the vet's office, but we got there 10 minutes early and had to wait another 15 for our turn.

The vet picked up instantly that there was something wrong with him.  She spent more than half an hour with him (did you know they can take a cat's blood pressure?  Not easily but it can be done).  She showed us how wonky his eyes were and said it looked neurological to her.  But she wanted to do blood tests just to make sure.  Of course, the next day the tests came back negative.  (Our boy has never had a sick day in his life.)  She thought he either had a stroke or has a brain tumor.

Not happy news.  We've got an appointment for Monday with the traveling vet who comes to town only a couple of times a month and there might be an MRI in Chester's future.  What the next step is . . . we're not sure.  And we're scared of losing our boy.

I posted about Chester on Thursday on my LLBartlett Facebook page, where I have very few friends (in comparison with my Lorna and Lorraine pages) and was astounded that so many people (more than 30) sent their regards.

My friends (and Cozy Chick) Ellery Adams and Dru-Ann Love (who reviews Cozies for us on the 15th of the month) posted about Chester on their pages, and the flood of sympathy and good wishes came through again.  I'm so touched that so many people cared enough to comment.  But then, so many of them have lived with the fear of losing, and/or losing a beloved pet themselves.  We're kindred spirits us pet owners.  We love our families and we love our pets with little distinguishing the two.  Love is love, after all.

So now we live through the scary weekend and face up to whatever Mr. Vet From Cornell has to tell us on Monday.  And if we hear bad news, I'll try to be brave and hold my kitty near and think about the kindness of my friends and the strangers who are all pulling for my boy.

Thank you.